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Message from Director


The director and staff of the International Library of African Music welcome you to our website. The website has been designed to give you a sense of ILAM's history, mission, current initiatives, various publications and its sizable selection of recordings, now available for purchase as MP3s. These recordings were first produced from the 1920s to the 1970s by Hugh Tracey, the founder of ILAM.
ILAM has successfully created on-line access to the Hugh Tracey sound and photo collections.  The Dave Dargie and Andrew Tracey collections have been digitized and are accessible online. ILAM has other collections being digitized, one donated by Singing Wells, one by Jaco Kruger, one by Erich Bigalke, and we are eagerly waiting on the arrival of the Derek Worman collection of images and music recorded on reels on the streets and the gold mines of Johannesburg. The Hugh Tracey recordings are also available online at Smithsonian Folkways and will shortly be available through the Alexander Street Press. The ILAM library collection of books, of which many are rare or out of print, is now accessible to the world-at-large through a link from ILAM's website to the Rhodes University library on-line catalogue (OPAC). Barring a two-year embargo for the latest editions of the Journal of African Music, the other editions are now available online, through JSTOR or OPAC. Clicking on 'ILAM Photo Archive Search' provides a link to ILAM's e-commerce website which offers 1000 images from ILAM's photo collection for sale. Clicking on 'ILAM Audio Archive Search' provides access to over 14,000 items from Hugh Tracey's field recordings.

Funding from the South African National Research Foundation (audio cataloguing and digitizing), National Heritage Council (photo collection cataloguing and digitizing), Rand Merchant Bank Expressions Fund (audio cataloguing and digitizing), Andrew Mellon Foundation (book, ephemera and Hugh Tracey documents cataloguing and archival preservation) has made the cataloguing, digital preservation and on-line access to ILAM's collections possible.
If you are seeking training in ethnomusicology, the Ethnomusicology Programme jointly offered by ILAM and the Rhodes Department of Music and Musicology, offers both undergraduate and post-graduate degree options. The content of the undergraduate curriculum is increasingly moving towards a substantial amount of experience in the performance of traditional African music and dance. In addition to the work being done by Ethnomusicology students, proposals from independent scholars for research, music education, and exhibition/performance projects utilizing ILAM's collections are welcome. Recordings are also finding a new life through revitalization projects such as the recordings being remixed by local hip hop artists and poets, and the Beating Heart company based in the UK.

We hope that this website will facilitate the desire to keep Hugh Tracey's legacy for research, publication, and education regarding African music alive, and that new generations of musicians and scholars will learn about our musical past. It is also our wish that the collection of music first acquired on the back of colonialism and later apartheid, be instrumental in how ILAM negotiates its appropriateness to a new dispensation in the twenty-first century. With regard to the latter, the challenges are enormous but worth the trouble and we welcome you to participate in our journey.
Please contact me at l.watkins@ru.ac.za with any questions you may have. Place your orders for CDs and/or other publications at ilamsales@ru.ac.za or l.visagie@ru.ac.za.  ILAM's doors are always open for visitors. Group presentations and workshops on African Music are available upon request.


Last Modified: Tue, 08 Nov 2016 10:57:15 SAST